Edgartown approves charter boat plan
The Edgartown selectmen gave their final approval Monday to a plan that will allow shared use of the finger piers in Edgartown Harbor by both charter boats and transient boats.
Harbormaster Charlie Blair, who presented the plan that was devised by the marine advisory committee, said it would give the town a chance to increase accommodations for overnight transient boats and still allow space for the charter boats to load and unload from the piers at specified hours during the day. He consulted directly with several charter boat captains who were at the meeting on the hours that would meet their docking needs. They all agreed that 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 4 to 6 pm daily would work.
Mr. Blair said the marine advisory committee had a "great meeting" last week with the charter boat captains to work out the plan that has been under consideration for a long time. Marine advisory committee chairman Joe Cressy also said the proposal "seemed to sit well with the charter people and with us."
Using a diagram of the piers, Mr. Blair showed how the plan would work. When the charter boats go out, transient boats can move into the vacated spaces for hourly rentals. He said he also would keep both sides of the last floating dock open in the mornings so the charter boats can load up and the transients don't have to leave so early.
"It gives the town a chance to increase overnight transients," Mr. Blair said. The transient boats pay $15 an hour for the moorings.
Mr. Blair said many of the slips were empty last year because previous regulations did not allow transient boats to use private moorings on a day-to-day basis. The selectmen amended those regulations earlier this month at the marine committee's request.
The changes will allow 20 or more transient boats to dock at the charter boat moorings. Mr. Blair said he has a 14-year waiting list for moorings. "I'm willing to do anything that works out," he said, assuring the selectmen that he will oversee the new plan.
The selectmen also previously approved the marine committee's proposal to build two floating docks off the finger piers to provide more mooring space in the summer.
Mr. Blair also reported that the transient moorings were completely booked for the entire summer in four days at the online site. "Fourth of July went in less than a minute," he said. He also added 15 new moorings that require no reservations, but that limit stays to two nights.
"It's going to be great for the town," he said.